Friday, May 7, 2010

Not in the Job Description

This morning as I was struggling with my daughters to try and do some sort of hair-do... not a fancy one mind you just something basic like a side ponytail... my girls DO NOT like getting their hair done... I was thinking how being a "hair-wrangler" was not one of the jobs I imagined I would have as a mother. Before I was a mother there were certain responsibilities I expected to have like cooking, laundry, cleaning, taxi-driving, helping with homework, shopping and the list goes on with countless duties that I saw my own mother perform. But there are certain jobs or more accurately certain nuances to these jobs that I can only suppose are in the fine print of the motherhood description. So in honor of Mother's Day this weekend, here are some of the other "not in the job description" jobs we mothers perform often:

Bathroom permission giver- Anyone who has ever had a 3 or 4 year old has had this job. At first I thought it was just my own children who would come up to me holding their pants pleading "I have to go to the bathroom."- like I was the one blocking the toilet from them. But I have witnessed other children seeking approval from me to use the bathroom. So it must be universal.

Public Bathroom Locator- This job is closely related to the above job. Again anyone who has ever had a 3 or 4 year old knows the location of most public bathrooms... whether it is in Wal-Mart or at the park or in Jiffy Lube.

Garbage Disposal- When I was a kid I remember my Dad having this job, but somehow it has fallen to me in our family to finish up half eaten chicken nuggets, already bitten bananas and crusts of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think this is my job because I don't have the heart to throw food away and I do have the stomach for it.

Grocery Whisperer-I do not take this solemn responsibility lightly. I have to have a highly developed 5th sense of knowing exactly what groceries are in the house at all times... which ones are running low... which ones I can wait another week to buy ... and which ones we have plenty of. Heaven help me if we have spaghetti without Parmesan cheese or hamburgers without ketchup. Believe me it has happened before and it wasn't pretty.

Household Supplies Clairvoyant- Again closely related to Grocery Whisperer is the Household Supplies Clairvoyant. I don't think very many dads could tell you when the toothpaste is running low or if you are out of tape. And not only do we moms have to know the inventory of all the household supplies we also need to know the exact location of all these items. Even for the Dads, "No, Eric I don't know where you put the studfinder or last year's taxes or the remote control."

Nail Inspector &Trimmer- Before I had kids I honestly never thought of having to check the length of my kids' finger and toenails. Apparently this is not something kids take the initiative to do on their own. Now I am inspecting 50 toenails and 50 fingernails.

Underwear Monitor- I really wish this wasn't a job I have, but after doing laundry for some of my kids and only finding one pair of underwear in a week's worth of laundry I decided this situation merited a discussion about how often one changes ones underwear.

Barbie/Polly Pocket dress fastener and changer- If you don't have girls this one may not apply to you. But with 3 girls, I for one have changed many a Polly Pocket dress and fastened several Barbie dresses in my day.

Speller- "Mom, how do you spell puppies?" "Mom, how do you spell Halloween?" "Mom, how do you spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?"

Lunch money Allocator- It is a tricky business trying to keep track of how much money each kid has in their lunch money account. Especially when they find it mortifying to be told their mom needs to send more money or when the school sends home over a dozen notes reminding parents that students absolutely CANNOT charge a meal after May 1st. "Methinks thou dost protest too much" lunchladies!

Negotiate like a mexican flea market vendor- Case in point- Suzie wanted a drink after she had brushed her teeth and was in bed. This is how the negiotiations went while Suzie was in her bed and I was across the hall laying down on my bed because I had just "clocked out":
Suz: I want a drink of root beer in my sippy cup.
Mom: No, you just brushed your teeth.
Suz: Can I have some apple juice in a sippy cup?
Mom: No, Suz. Go to sleep.
Suz: Can I have some milk in a sippy cup?
Mom: No, go to bed.
Suz: Can I have a drink of water in my sippy cup?
Mom: No, mommy is tired and doesn't want to get off her bed.
Suz: Can I come get a drink in your bathroom?
Mom: Alright... as long as you get up on the sink by yourself.

X-ray vision to see dirt on the floor, smudges on the windows, weeds that need to be pulled- I am truly like Superman in this respect because I am the ONLY one in my house that has this super-power.

Quality Control- I am the supreme authority on the state of all things in my house-from how close the milk is to going bad to whether an item can be fixed, saved for a sibling or sent to DI.

Phone Directory - I must have an accurate, current knowledge of all home phone and cell phone numbers of all friends and their parents, family members, doctors, piano teachers, schools, gymnastic centers and poison control.

I know this list could go on and on. And I don't meant to sound like I am complaining about all the extra duties. Motherhood is the hardest, most rewarding job on the planet. And one of my biggest prayers is there is a mother of one daughter and three mothers of sons out there who don't mind doing all the thankless, invisible jobs that allow a child to be a child so they can one day grow up to be the kind of parent who will do all these jobs for my grandchildren. My only intention is to bring a little humor to the daily-ness of motherhood. One of my favorite quotes about motherhood was said by my Aunt Kathryn. She was a bit older when she had children and had had a successful career before becoming a mother. My mom once asked her what she thought of being a mom. She replied with exhaustion, "Its just so daily!"
So Happy Mother's Day to all my favorite moms out there- mom, mom-in-law, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, grandmoms, friends, neighbors, soon to be moms- and thanks for daily doing all the "Not in the job description" jobs!


Sarah said...

Perfectly said, Kari!

And if I can be assured there are 4 mothers out there raising 2 sons and 2 daughters that are having a blissful childhood, all the daily work seems worth it.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Happy Mother's Day, Kari!

It sounds like you do ALL your jobs well. :)

Mandy said...

I loved it, Kari! With three daughters, I have racked up countless hours of putting on and taking off polly pocket and barbie attire. Thanks for putting a smile on my face today! It's nice to know that some "super(MOM)powers" are shared with a pretty amazing person.
Happy Mother's Day!

The Powells said...

I hope you have a great Mother's Day!

Julie said...

Amen.....I really never thought about how many of those jobs that are in the fine print that I have to do. But as I was reading I expected you to add "Garbage Man". For some reason my kids think I am their garbage keeper. EVEN if the garbage is two feet away from them, they shove it in my pockets/hands/bag. Makes me so MAD.

Happy Mothers Day to you....I think you are one of the most amazing women/mothers I know! AND I like you.

Janet said...

so funny and so true!
Happy Mothers Day!

Liz said...

This so describes my day today (underwear and grocery whisperer). I'm sending friends to your blog to read this because it is SOOOOO true. Great to see you the other day. We need it to be more frequent!

Liz said...

p.s.....You need to add "speech writer". I just discovered Parker has a primary talk tomorrow. Crap!

amberjill said...

Along your lines of finding the remote for Eric, can I add the all too often 'honey, where's my tooth?' which can be heard at my house on a regular basis. Oh, and I vacuumed up a polly pocket shoe yesterday and didn't feel guilty AT ALL! I actually smiled. One less shoe to worry about! :)

Laura said...

I totally thought Talmage was the only one who asked for permission to use the bathroom! He's been fully potty-trained and functioning for nearly a year now, but he still needs to let me know that now's the time.

Happy Mother's Day!

Lori said...

When are you going to write a book? You are hilarious! Thanks for putting my life in perspective! Happy Mother's Day to one of the best moms I know!

pan x 8 said...

I'm a friend of Liz's and just wanted to stop by and say... I'm so glad I'm not the only one in this job... seriously, I sometimes think I'm the only one!! LOL Thanks for the share!

Kamille said...

So FREAKING hillarious!!! Amber kills me too. I would like to add to the list. Stool checker. In reference to #2. I just love when you take your children into the doctor and the doctor asks "What do your child's stools look like?" Should I feel like a horrible mother every time I answer..."Well, I have NO IDEA!"

kjirsten said...

I wish so bad that you could have come too! Just know that you were TRULY missed. But like you said, next year we'll make it happen! Liz and Becky said that they were going to lunch with you -- how fun! -- I'm jealous that you guys can get together like that!

I feel pretty lucky that I got to see you in TX though -- I'm so glad that you came! It was SO FUN to see you!

Miss you Kari! And love you!

p.s. I loved your post . . . you TOTALLY nailed it! Motherhood is quite a job -- ain't it grand!?!

kto1s said...

Kari--hilarious, refreshing, hit the nail on the head & perfect. I am apparently the only one around here that knows how to flush the toilet, too.
So I am, unfortunately, very informed when the pediatrician asks that question. Consider yourself lucky, Kamille!

Natalie said...

This is so funny. I love the convo you had with the Suz. As well as many other conversations that aren't as appropriate for the blog. (Or maybe they are....) Hopefully someday I can be a Mother like you one day.

Liz said...

Kari, I think you have summarized mothering-tasks perfectly! I will need to borrow some of these as I just can't think of a better way to describe it. LOVE IT! Thanks for the laughs and keep up the GOOD work!